Respiratory health in women: from menarche to menopause

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2012 Apr;6(2):187-200; quiz 201-2. doi: 10.1586/ers.12.15.


Gender differences in respiratory health have, in recent years, been the focus of considerable scientific effort. This paper reviews recent literature on respiratory health in women in relation to age at menarche, menstrual cycle, irregular menstruation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menopause and exogenous sex hormones. This literature provides substantial evidence that hormonal status plays an important role for respiratory health in women. Effects of hormonal status on the airways often appear to be heterogeneous and recent literature in particular suggests that the interplay between hormonal and metabolic factors is important. A view to developmental factors may also be relevant for the understanding of respiratory health according to hormonal status in women. Further knowledge of respiratory health in women holds interesting potential for intervention and personalized treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Menarche / metabolism*
  • Menopause / metabolism*
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Women's Health*